Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Portraying Struggles and Victories within John F. Kennedys’ Life in the Novel 'Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot'

Words: 2149
Pages: 5
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

“Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met- obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty.” -John F. Kennedy. The historical non-fiction novel, Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard describes Kennedy’s journey as the 35th president of the United States. The novel specifically focused on the life of John F. Kennedy from his early years all the way to his role as a leader. To discover some of the most nerve-racking moments during the president’s term, the authors covered events such as the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis (Kirkus , 2012). Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard are also New York Times bestselling authors of Killing Lincoln (Kaufman, 2012). In the beginning, the authors described Kennedy’s personality towards life and politics. They discussed the PT-109 mission in which Kennedy realized that it was his duty to serve the nation and bring America back on track. The authors portrayed how Kennedy was a lady’s man and was never interested in politics but, after a near death experience, he realized that it was time to change. They mentioned how he was very passionate about writing and traveling and then shifted his area of focus towards running for president. They also presented how political problems such as the escalating Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, affected Kennedy’s personal life (Maslin, 2012). O’Reilly and Dugard emphasized JFK’s relationships with his wife, children, and brothers, and how political issues raised problems between them. The book does not only talk about Kennedy’s life but also untangles the life of his assassinator, Lee Harvey Oswald. Although his presidency was short lived, the book explored through major hardships and temptations JFK faced and how along the way, he acquired both friends and enemies. The authors describe the shocking events surrounding Kennedy’s assassination in great detail (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). This is a story of resilience, suspense, and thrill. O’Reilly and Dugard did an incredible job covering the life of John F. Kennedy from his short years of presidency all the way to his dreadful assassination. According to The New York Times, the book is, “immersively written [and] Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Dugard succeed in investing a familiar national tragedy with fresh anguish…a powerful historical précis” (Maslin, 2012). If one were to give this book a rating it should be 5/5 stars. Every chapter digs into a new episode of Kennedy’s life, that included frantic moments you could never even imagine. Just by reading the first few sentences of a chapter could capture the reader’s attention. If one were to read this book, they would feel as if they are alongside Kennedy and experiencing the same emotions as him. If you need a dose of thrill and suspense, you have found it in this book.

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard took the reader on an adventure into the presidents’ life. They touched onto every aspect of his life, indside and out. Skillful organization was maintained throughout their writing, which is important for not making the reader confused. The book was divided into three parts and each part built up onto Kennedys’ life. Such as, the first section Cheating Death focused on Kennedy’s pesonal life and his near death experience. Kennedy cheated death from the experiences faced during the PT-109 mission. Then, alongside the information about current events, O’Reilly and Dugard also focused on the outside world, and the upcoming tragedies that would lead into the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis, throughout the other parts. Each part is also divided into chapters, that begin with the location, date, and time. By establishing the specific setting, the reader is better able to contextualize the subject matter. For example, part two chapter eight begins with, “January 8, 1963, Washington D.C., 9:30 p.m.” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012) and part two chapter eleven begins with, “May 3, 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, 1:00 p.m.” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012).This pattern throughout the book can help the reader better understand the information in the upcoming chapters and help interpret problems in the surrounding areas. So, with the date and time included, every chapter in the three parts picks up from the previous chapter. While discussing Kennedy’s journey through the intense obstacles, the authors also included information about Oswalds’ life such as, “ outcast, misunderstood, and alone, Lee Harvey Oswald, who considers himself a great man, destined to accomplish great things, festers in a quiet rage. He has now become desperate” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012) and “in fact, he is quietly plotting to shoot the president…Oswald does not hate the president. He has no reason to want JFK dead. He is, however, bitter that a man such as John Kennedy has so many advantages in life” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). These references about Oswald throughout the chapters, give the reader a better understanding to why he assasinated Kennedy. The authors also included information about Kennedy’s wife, Jackie such as, “she often wondered why he felt the need to sleep with other women and began to question whether she was the problem” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012) and “he was deeply touched by Jackie’s maternal nature and the fact that she had insisted on remaing at the White House to be with her husband” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). These references about people who were part of Kennedys’ life gave a better understanding towards the upcoming events. Different perspectives help to gain more information about surrounding problems and all the thoughts that went on in one’s mind. O’Reilly and Dugard also space their chapters such as before a space it would state, “in the backseat of the Lincoln, Jackie Kennedy holds her husband’s head and queitly sobs. ‘he’s dead. They’ve killed him. Oh Jack, oh Jack. I love you’ (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012) and then after the space it states, “Lee Harvey Oswald is doing everything right. He’s walking up Elm Street to catch a bus. The panic and chaos that now define Dealey Plaza recede behind him” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). The scene before the space is completely different from the scene that takes place after the space.The inclusion of the space portrays the way of seperating two different stories and going from one character to another or switching from one scene to another. O’Reilly and Dugard switch tenses throughout the book from present tense to third person but, they also utilize foreshadowing (Maslin, 2012). In the beginning of the book on page 7 it states, “the man with fewer than three years to live has his left hand on the Bible…gaze is directed at the jurist whose name will one day be synonymous with Kennedy’s own death” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). By adding infrequent prophetic, the reader is better able to understand the upcoming events in the book. Therefore, by utilizing different perspectives, parts, chapters, and specific settings, can give the reader a better understanding and an up-close look upon the subject. This book would be advantageous for AP students who are researching about the Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs, Civil Rights, or even the Vietnam War and need a personal point of view towards the subject.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

O’Reilly and Dugard also included many photographs of people and places. Such as, on page 248 chapter 22 there is a map that describes Kennedy’s motorcycle route in Dallas on November 22, 1963 (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). Also, on page 286 they included a photo of President Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One following the assassination of JFK (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). Including photographs of the events surrounding the chaos portray many emotions. Realizing the panic neighboring this event makes the reader feel as if they were part of this tragedy. In the beginning of the book, the authors add a note to the readers that describe their purpose for writing this book and acknowledge the fact that this event was very tragic and affected many people (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). By including this the readers will understand that this book is fact based and contains information that many may not know (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). This motivates the reader to trust the author more. Towards the end of the book, O’Reilly and Dugard included an afterward that discussed the lives of important people throughout Kennedys’ life after his death such as, “Caroline Kennedy grew up to attend Radcliffe College and later earn her Juris Doctor from Columbia University” and “one other anonymous individual disagreed, purchasing [Oswald’s] coffin at auction for $87,468 in December 2010” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). Recognizing significant people throughout Kennedys’ life helps the reader to understand their importance and how they contributed towards his life. Near the end of the book, (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012) included an epilogue that discussed about a, “letter [that was] the best evidence that John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln were indeed kindred spirits” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). The epilogue served to illustrate how the lives of Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln were truly similar. Kennedy quite often referenced Abraham Lincoln in many situations (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). They also included a page with different primary and secondary sources they utilized such as, “Robert Dallek’s writing on JFK’s myriad medical woes was very helpful in out getting a handle on the many medications the president was required to take” and “the Kennedy Library’s website has a feature that allows you to browse the New York Times by date” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). By including the sources section, the reader can both understand and trust the information the author presents. The authors also included an acknowledgement page towards the end of the book to thank and give credit to some of the people who gave a huge contribution towards their book. The authors thank their publisher, assistants, and friends who helped make this book possible (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). Honestly speaking, anyone who was to read this book would be shocked to find out that the presidents life was far from perfect. O’Reilly and Dugard mentioned how his enemies could have been part of his assaination in the afterward section such as, “conspirationalists believed that Dulles was involved in the Kennedy assasination as payback for his firing in the wake of the botched Bay of Pigs invasion” (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). The theme held throughout the book was very helpful because, all the events throughout his life were in chronological order. The authors started off with how Kennedy was very non-political in his early years and then transitioned to become one of the greatest icons in history. The Top 10 mentioned aspects of Kennedys’ life that one may have not known. Such as, how Kennedy had numerous affairs including one to be Marilyn Monroe, or how rolling around on the floor with his kids is part of his daily morning routine (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). Another theme that was consistent throughout the book was the theme of Camelot (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). Throughout the book there are many comparisons between Kennedys’ life and Camelot regarding his wealth, style, and reign (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). Such as on page 293 its states, “she first told the world the tale of JFK listening to the Camelot sound track before falling asleep, and how he loved the final line: ‘don’t let ot be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot’ (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). The authors described Jackie mentioning how she wants the theme of Camelot to be predominant when remembering her husbands presidency (O’Reilly, Dugard, 2012). The authors aim was to inform the reader about the life of a leader, and they achieved that through their detailed writing. According to The New York Times, “ the latest gerund- happy book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (after Killing Lincoln) to turn a presidential assassination into a human interest story” (Maslin, 2012). Receiving a comment like this presents a big impact on the authors writing. Every chapter throughout this book was an attention grabber that could encourage one to read more books like this one. Overall, the book was a success because the subject of the book was to inform the reader about the life of Kennedy, which was accomplished by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.

An important detail to note about a book, is if it flows and follows a logical order. This book has a chronological arrangement and is easily read because, the transitions flow in an orderly manner. The authors organized the events of how the escalating war affected Kennedy’s life. Each chapter specifically targeted every aspect of his life. The authors did not go straight to the point. The entire book went deep into Kennedy’s life and discussed in depth about his personal well-being. While reading, one would feel as if they were part of his presidency. One should definitely read this book because, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard do an incredible job in portraying both the struggles and the victories within John F. Kennedys’ life.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Portraying Struggles and Victories within John F. Kennedys’ Life in the Novel ‘Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot’. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 30, 2023, from
“Portraying Struggles and Victories within John F. Kennedys’ Life in the Novel ‘Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot’.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
Portraying Struggles and Victories within John F. Kennedys’ Life in the Novel ‘Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 Sept. 2023].
Portraying Struggles and Victories within John F. Kennedys’ Life in the Novel ‘Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2023 Sept 30]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.